3 Great Exercises that Build Strong Legs

Almost all athletic prowess comes from the strength and speed of your legs. Our feet are attached to the ground and do anything athletic we first must turn ground forces into energy for any other part of our body. Those forces are generated by our legs and stabilized by our core before traveling up to our arms. So, if you want a better shot in basketball, swing and baseball, a harder pitch, or a better golf swing, you better strengthen those legs.

But the benefits of strong legs don’t stop and end with sports. Strengthening your legs also releases beneficial hormones and the workload that your legs are capable of burn ton of calories. Simply put — strong legs make lean and mean, and make you feel great.

Everybody knows the common leg strengthening exercises — squat and deadlift — but to really maximize leg strength and performance, you need to think outside the box. Most athletic activity is done at full speed and rarely takes place with both feet planted on the ground. That’s why the true athletes do single leg exercises that tie in core stabilization to really maximize balance, strength and the ability to translate that strength to the upper body.

Single-leg Deadlift

Grab a dumbbell in your right hand while standing in a relaxed position with a dumbbell resting on the wing of your right hip. Now bend over while simultaneously lifting your left leg behind, making a flat T with your body and raised leg. At the same time, lower the dumbbell in your right hand all the way to an inch above the floor along the front side of the right leg. Do this movement deliberately and then pause for a moment at the bottom before raising yourself back to the standing position for one rep. Repeat the exercise for your other leg.

Single-Leg Squat

Put a dumbbell in each hand, stand a foot or two in front of a bench, kick your left leg out behind you your foot onto the bench, and then perform squats on a single right leg. Descend all the way to the down until your hamstring is parallel with the ground to make a 90° bend at the knee, and then raise back up to the start position. You can really make this exercise killer by performing it while balancing your foot on a Swiss ball.

Side Lunges

Use a couple of dumbbells or a barbell on your back for this exercise. Step sideways, stepping slightly out front and completely to the side of your body in order to lower into a sit on one leg, creating a 90-degree angle at the knee. Your other leg should be straight out to your side with the foot at the start position. Raise back to a stand by exploding off the weight-bearing foot.